MORAGA, Calif. -- Freshman Alex Braman extended his team scoring lead with a first-half game-winner to help the Saint Mary's men's soccer team close out its 2013 home season with a spirited 2-0 victory over longtime Bay Area rival San Francisco.
With the victory, the Gaels moved to 6-7-4 on the season and 4-3-2 in the West Coast Conference. SMC's 14 points places it in sole possession of third place in the league standings heading into Friday night's match at runner-up Santa Clara. San Francisco fell to 6-9-2 overall and 3-5-1 in league play.
Friday's match will be streamed live through the West Coast Conference's new digital network, located online at TheW.tv. LInks to the video stream, as well as live statistics, will be available on SMCGaels.com prior to the start of the match.
Saint Mary's outshot the Dons by a 14-9 margin and a tight 4-2 edge in attempts on frame. Both teams attempted two corner kicks and the Dons owned a 20-14 edge in fouls. Each team's goalkeeper registered two saves.
Saint Mary's starting keeper Lucas Champenois improved his record to 2-1-1 and earned his second career shutout. USF's Connor Gaal fell to 5-4-0 on the season.
The two teams combined to draw seven yellow card cautions and four red cards from referee Juan Guzman. USF went a man down in the 49th minute when junior defender Tyler Sylvia earned a straight red card. Three minutes later, a USF coach was sent off with a red card and in the 90th minute freshman midfielder Ryan Eppley committed a flagrant foul to draw a red in his first appearance of the season.
Saint Mary's sophomore Alan Williams was shown his second yellow card, which earned him a red, as time expired for a rash challenge on a USF defender.
Alex Braman earned his team-leading fifth goal of the season in fortuitous fashion in the 28th minute of the match. Junior Michael Semenza intercepted a USF clearance and blasted a one time shot from outside the 18-yard penalty area.
His low, driving shot took a deflection off Braman and scooted past the off-balance Gaal to give Saint Mary's an early lead that would eventually hold.
The Dons threatened in the 39th minute when junior midfielder Kyle MacLeod attempted a low shot from the top of the area that sailed through traffic and was saved by Champenois.
The Gaels almost doubled their lead in the 60th minute when senior forward Justin Howard led a break down the right side of the field, dribbled into the area and attempted a shot that required a nice save by Gaal.
Just more than four minutes later, Howard again took the ball down the right side nearly unmarked. This time, he chipped it over the defender into the path of Semenza who flicked it into the right side of the goal for his third score of the season and second in as many games.